The Philadelphia Phillies have fired manager Gabe Kapler, as first reported by NBC Sports’ Jim Salisbury.
Kapler spent two seasons with the organization, going 161-163. He had one year remaining on his contract.
The Phillies’ front office attempted to supply Kapler with a legitimate contender. They spent over $400 million last offseason acquiring Bryce Harper, Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen, and reliever David Robertson — while adding JT Realmuto via trade with the Miami Marlins — only to miss the playoffs for an eighth consecutive season.
There was plenty of blame to go around for the 81-81 campaign when preseason expectations had the Phillies not only pushing for the National League East crown but the NL pennant.
Injuries ran rampant through the clubhouse. In total, 22 players were placed on the injured list, amounting to a total of 1,635 lost games.
Robertson — who was supposed to help fix the Phillies’ bullpen — appeared in just seven games while McCutchen lasted 59 games before tearing his ACL.
Starter Jake Arrieta continued to fail to meet expectations of becoming Aaron Nola’s No. 2 in the rotation before he was shut down early for a bone spur in his elbow that he admirably tried to pitch through.
Zach Eflin, Nick Pivetta, and Vince Velasquez did little to support Nola, either.
Rhys Hoskins’ second-half slump left Harper and Realmuto on an offensive island at times during the summer as they were tasked in sparking a sputtering group of bats.
While Kapler was behind the proverbial eight-ball for most of the season, he did little to help his case.
He constantly mismanaged his bullpen, made questionable lineup decisions, and was unable to get the most out of his roster — no matter how shorthanded it was.
Still, the Phillies waited approximately two weeks to pull the trigger, suggesting that owner John Middleton had a difficult time making a decision.
As recent as Wednesday, MLB Network’s Joel Sherman reported that Kapler would retain his job and the Phillies would try to “improve [the] structure around him.”
With the decision, the Phillies become the eighth team in Major League Baseball with a managerial vacancy, joining the Mets, Angels, Padres, Cubs, Pirates, Royals, and Giants.
The Phillies have been linked over the past few days with veteran managers such as Buck Showalter and Dusty Baker. Joe Girardi is also an experienced option, but already has interviews slated with the Cubs and Mets, who are considered to be the front-runners for the 2009 World Series winner.